Lies
September 16th, 2018 by diane92345

Everyone Lies in this fast-paced rollercoaster ride of a thriller.

Joe and Mel have an ideal life. Happily married for almost ten years with a perfect young son, William. When Joe and William see Mel turn into a hotel garage, they follow. Joe sees her sitting in the hotel restaurant with her best friend’s upset husband, Ben.

Fearing the worst, Joe waits with William in their car for Mel to emerge. However, she drives away so quickly that Joe misses her. Instead he attempts to talk to Ben. Ben, still angry, pushes the larger Joe against the car. When Joe pushes Ben back, he stumbles and falls unconscious to the ground. Because William has come to see what is taking his Dad so long, he sees the blood seeping from Ben’s ear, which triggers an asthma attack. When Ben rushes back to the car, he can’t find an inhaler and so rushes home to get one.

Mel gives Joe an explanation of a freelance work project for Ben. Joe believes her. Joe decides to return to the hotel to ensure Ben is safe. Both Ben and his car are gone. However, Joe realizes so are his distinct leather bracelet and cell phone. When Joe’s Facebook is hacked, he suspects alpha male Ben. He changes his password, turns off the cell phone and assumes the problem is fixed.

The next day, Ben’s wife, Beth, comes to warn Mel and Joe that Ben came home late the previous night drunk, furious at Joe and vowing revenge. And he took one of the couple’s guns. So starts this mile-a-minute thrill ride.

I tore through Lies as fast as possible because I adored all the quick twists and turns. It’s a great read that is highly recommended to Gone Girl fans. 4 stars.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

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Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Dinner List
September 14th, 2018 by diane92345

It’s a familar party game. Put your five favorite people, living or dead, on your Dinner List. This book speculates on what would happen if the dinner actually occurred.

Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner at a trendy restaurant. Seated at the table are the five guests she named. Audrey Hepburn, her college philosophy Professor Conrad, her ex-boyfriend Tobias, her estranged father Robert, and her college best friend Jessica are all relaxed and not surprised to be at dinner together. Sabrina is worried that she is either insane or dreaming.

During dinner, flashbacks show the history Sabrina has with these people and why they were added to her dinner list. However, the focus is Sabrina and Tobias’ relationship and why it ended.

I love the magical realism genre (I’m looking at you Haruki Murakami). This book has a magical atmosphere in a more realistic setting. It was innovative of the author to use an old party game as a plot driver. The conclusion is heartfelt and felt organic to the characters. Be aware that the Dinner List is sad in parts. Several of the dinner guests are dead so any revelations will be ultimately bittersweet with the knowledge unusable after the dinner ends. The Dinner List is highly recommended for fans of Me Before You and the Fault in our Stars. 5 stars!

Thanks to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Literary Fiction, New Books Tagged with: ,

Read and Gone
September 14th, 2018 by diane92345

Where are the haunts in Read and Gone, the second book in the Haunted Library series?

Carrie has her life on track. She has a boyfriend, a job as a library events coordinator and a cute cottage where the rent is cheap. So she isn’t happy when her thieving ex-con father, John, reappears one night after breaking into her house.

Within 24 hours, John is a person of interest in both a murder and a million dollar jewel heist. When he gets left for dead in a parking lot, he is hospitalized with a concussion for a week. John asks Carrie to find both the murderer and the gems stolen by the victim.

Since this is the second in the Haunted Library series, I expected more interaction with the resident ghost. She has basically a walk-on part. Her frequent clothing and hair styles changes are discussed. She dispenses some obvious advice and vanishes. Not having read the first in this series made it difficult to understand the motivations of the multitude of characters. I would highly recommend reading this series in order.

The lack of a paranormal plotline and an overly familiar mystery plot made Read and Gone a miss for me. 2 stars.

Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: , ,

#FashionVictim
September 12th, 2018 by diane92345

Hilarious serial killer thriller where no one wants to be the next #FashionVictim.

Everyone fantasizes about how to kill their office rivals (or maybe that’s just me). Few carry those fantasies out in real life. Anya is prepared to kill an intern for a pitying look. When the intern is found dead by shoe, Detective Hopper, who looks like a Calvin Klein model, investigates. In the meantime, La Vie (sounding suspiciously like Vogue) staffers are instagramming selfies with the corpse with #DeathbyAccessories, #KillerShoes and of course, #FashionVictim hashtags.

OMG, #FashionVictim is hilarious! It is perfect for Devil Wears Prada fans jaded by social media. It is also similar to American Psycho as you are dropped into a psychopath’s thoughts by the use of first person narration. 5 stars!

Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Humor, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Echo Room
September 12th, 2018 by diane92345

Rett and Bryn continually awaken in the apocalyptic future in the Echo Room.

Step 1: Rett wakes up in a locked metal room with no memory of how he got there. He has blood on his clothes and hands. Soon he sees Bryn, who is also locked in the room with no memory of how she got there. As they talk, they discover they are both from the government-run shelter for abandoned youth, Walling House. Rett tries to discover a way out of the room.  He finds a broken lock on one door.  He finds hidden doors to two other rooms.  However, there is no food or water immediately available—just a bin filled with empty water bottles and another with strangely glowing green tubes. The only clue is the phrase “SCATTER 3” on one of the walls.

Step 2: Explore. Get scared. Repeat Step 1. Rett and Bryn learn a bit more with each repetition.

The mystery is intriguing. The setting in a wrecked near future world is eerily unsettling. Even though it’s marketed as young adult science fiction, the Echo Room works well as an adult thriller too. While the pacing slowed a bit in the middle, the plot kept the reader engaged. The book will make a great movie someday. It is perfect for fans of puzzles and intriguing situations like in the Maze Runner.

A sequel is hinted at toward the end. I’m looking forward to that book. This one deserves 4 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, Tor Teen, and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Science Fiction, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: , ,

Batman Catwoman The Wedding Album
September 11th, 2018 by diane92345

If art is why you love comics, Batman/Catwoman: The Wedding Album is a must have!

Including only three stories, this comic is shorter than most compilations. It contains the Engagement, the Dress and the Big Day. It also adds a Wedding cover variant gallery, a sketchbook and a look at the script for the Dress, which includes the original comics that make up the flashback scenes from 1940 until 2003. Catwoman’s face and figure change dramatically beginning with a Jane Russell lookalike.

For the wedding, Batman and Catwoman decide to invite only one witness each. However, DC has invited 31 guest artists to tell the wedding story. It’s rare to see such divergent styles in one comic. It is fascinating to see how each artist highlights different aspects of the characters.

Batman/Catwoman: The Wedding Album is highly recommended for its artwork and flashbacks. The plot and bang up action are not the focus here. For that, read Batman: Preludes to the Wedding. But for art fans or aspiring comic artists, this is a great choice. 5 stars!

Thanks to DC Comics and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books Tagged with: , ,

Batman: Preludes to the Wedding
September 11th, 2018 by diane92345

Batman: Preludes to the Wedding includes six stories providing background to the events that occur in Batman and Catwoman: The Wedding Album.

The first and last story describe how the Joker receives his wedding invitation. The last also includes Harley Quinn. From This Day Forward includes a scene of Damien Wayne getting his wedding suit tailored where he describes his history to his soon-to-be stepmom, Catwoman. Later after returning from her bachelorette party, Catwoman and Damien have a serious talk. For Richer or Poorer makes the reader feel a part of Batman’s, anything but tranquil, bachelor party. For Better or Worse tells the Riddler’s tale. In Sickness and In Health, Red Hood crosses paths with an Anarky terrorist plot while watching over Catwoman’s bachelorette party.

This is a great entry point for those either just entering the DC multiverse or returning after a long absence. Most tales include a short history of the main character. Even for long-time fans, Batman: Preludes to the Wedding builds excitement for the wedding itself and foreshadows some complications. It is a worthwhile companion purchase.

I loved these simple short stories that were reminiscent of the comic books of my youth. 5 stars!

Thanks to DC Comics and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books Tagged with: , ,

Forbidden Door
September 10th, 2018 by diane92345

The Jane Hawk series finally hits its stride with its fourth entry, The Forbidden Door.

The Techno Arcadians are upping their game by accusing Jane on a 60 Minutes-style show of murdering her beloved husband Matt and faking his suicide. The Arcadians set in motion a plan to kidnap or kill everyone dear to Jane. Ancel and Clare Hawk, Jane’s in-laws, must flee their farm. Jane and Matt’s five-year-old son, Travis, must flee across the desert. Even Jane is tracked by one of the Techno Arcadians as the net around Jane and all her loved ones is slowly tightened.

The villain this time is Egon Gottfrey. Egon believes in radical philosophical nihilism. Nothing is real. Only his mind exists guided by an Unknown Playwright. Why is he scarier than most villains? Because he has no fear of death. “Gottfrey has no objection to a shootout. His physical existence is an illusion; he can’t be killed.” Egon is also a vicious killer, who kills total strangers for fun. All without a nanobot implant. He is a world-class antagonist and the perfect foil to Jane’s over-the-top bada$$ery.

It is hard not to see the extremes of good and evil plus Jane’s incredible skills as a superhero tale. Finally, a Joker has been set against Jane’s Batman. This entry in the series is definitely the best so far. I would even recommend just reading this one rather than beginning with the first in the series. It is perfect for thriller fans. However, it would also work for superhero comic fans too. The Forbidden Door would make a great movie. Hopefully, it has already been optioned by someone. 5 stars!

Thanks to Bantam Books and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: , ,